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At least two men, possibly three people, are wanted in connection with an armed robbery at Antioch Grocery on Wednesday, May 8, in which a clerk was injured by a masked gunman.
Then, a customer, who walked into the store while the crime was in progress, had a gun pointed at him, according to witnesses at the scene.
Authorities say two unknown black men entered the store, at 2702 Flat Creek Road, about 9:05 p.m. Wednesday. One of them jumped across the counter and struck the clerk in the head with a pistol, demanding money and merchandise.
A customer walking into the store after parking his car beside the gas pumps found himself looking down the barrel of a gun and was ordered outside by the robbers, said Rodger Payne.
Payne is the owner of Rodger’s Automotive, which is next door to the store in the strip-mall-type shopping center just past the Whitehall subdivision on Flat Creek Road.
Two other businesses – Antioch Roadside Grill and Rhonda’s Hair Fashions – are also adjacent to the store.
Payne stood outside the crime tape that cordoned off the parking lot shaking his head in a mixture of disbelief and relief. He said the four businesses and their respective employees have become a tight-knit family.
Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Matt Shaw said the clerk was treated by Lancaster County EMS for minor injuries and no one else was hurt. Members of the clerk’s family arrived and took her home.
“We’re all good, close friends and when I got word, I came straight over here,” Payne said. “My heart just dropped when I pulled up. I was worried. I work hard every day and I can tell you there are people out there who watch and do this kind of stuff everyday, too.
“It just ticks me off whenever mess like this happens,” Payne said.
The two men ran out of the business with an undisclosed amount of money and merchandise and jumped into a car that was parked in a driveway just west of the store, before speeding away on Flat Creek Road toward the city limits.
Deputies, detectives and crime scene investigators combed the area looking for evidence and found several packs of cigarettes and beer that had been dropped in an open field as the men were running.
“Looked like they left a path straight to the car,” Payne said.
At this time, it is unknown if there was a getaway driver waiting on the two suspects.
Payne said he is hopeful those responsible will be arrested.
“I’m really grateful she (the clerk) is going to be OK,” Payne said. “All she’s out here doing is tryin’ to make a honest living and it makes me sick inside to see something like this.”
Thursday afternoon, Antioch Grocery owner Cody Reynolds said he was offering a $2,500 reward to anyone who can help lead to the arrest and conviction of the two armed men who robbed the store.
If you know anything about the armed robbery of Antioch Grocery on Wednesday, call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office’s non-emergency line at (803) 283-3388.
Contact copy editor Gregory A. Summers at (803) 283-1156